Spiders and clouds: Mount Takao (高尾山)

I couldn’t wait to get up and get the day started, so at 5am I was out of bed and getting ready to head to Mount Takao. I took about two hours fifteen minutes starting from Akihabara Station to get to Takaosanguchi Station. I remember having read somewhere that Japanese people don’t usually eat on trains, so I refrained from taking out the breakfast (aka onigiri) I had packed and looked out the window. The view and my attempts at subtle people watching kept me entertained most of the way, and since it was still early I had no problem finding a seat the whole way.

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I waited until everyone got out so I could take a photo of the train without disturbing anyone’s privacy. I love trains.

A group of older ladies were apparently surprised to see me in the bathroom and finally gathered the courage to ask me ‘onna desu ka?’ (are you a woman?) after a few indiscrete glances and whispers. I guess my short hair confused them, but we all laughed once I confirmed I was in the right bathroom. I said goodbye to the bathroom ladies as they headed up trail 1, while I took a turn for trail 6. Although trail 1 is most popular, I wanted to see the cave where Kôbo Daishi once cured a woman and the Biwa Waterfall. Both turned out to be very small landmarks and hardly worth mentioning, but walking along the river was nice.

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Beautiful buildings and small temple before the trail start. Up the hill is a cemetery worth checking out.

It took me about an hour and a half to get to the top. It’s an easy climb, the only tiring bit were the stairs close to the top. There’s a seating area at the top of the stairs, where I sat and emptied half of my water bottle. I nearly walked into a spiderweb with a giant spider right in the middle. A scary looking spider, might I say, compared to the ones I’ve seen in Spain, so I was slightly paranoid for the rest of the walk. I think that spider is what I most remember from my day in Mount Takao.


Luckily it didn’t rain during my hike, but the sky was very cloudy so I didn’t see Mount Fuji. Around 9:30am once I arrived to the top, I was the first foreigner of the day. A few people even congratulated me once I arrived. I found a seating area to rest and eat my intended lunch, although it would be more appropriate to call it breakfast, while I looked out at the surrounding mountains.

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There’s Mount Fuji somewhere!

I wanted to head down Inariyama trail because I hadn’t yet seen any Inari shrines, but I took a wrong turn and accidentally went back down trail 6. Those of you who want to go down Inariyama trail remember: it’s the right turn! The walk down took me about 45 minutes.
I think the town at the base of Mount Takao is worth a stroll if you’re not in a hurry. I found out not long ago that there’s a museum close by too.

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Woman hanging up the store’s noren at opening time. Senbei (せんべい) means rice cracker in Japanese and the first kanji means hand, so maybe they sell hand made rice crackers? I didn’t look inside.
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A beautiful building!
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Forest center parking area?
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Abandoned slide. I could probably read the kanji from that sign if I was a better student. ‘Minna de tsukurô’… ‘For all to fix’? ‘Let’s make together’? I should really stop trying to pretend I can read signs.
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Yes, I did take this photo only because the wall reminded me of Doraemon.
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Back to Tokyo!

Have you been to Mount Takao? I’d love to hear about your trip, especially if you took a different trail!

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7 thoughts on “Spiders and clouds: Mount Takao (高尾山)

  1. I thought about going out of town to visit Mount Fuji or one of the other mountains in the area, but I ended up staying in Tokyo last time. Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous photos!

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    1. My camera doesn’t really do great photos in the dark, so it was difficult to take photos under all the trees during the hike (for the sake of my self-esteem I blame my camera instead of my lack of photography skills), but I’m glad you like them!
      I was planning to hike up Mount Fuji, but unfortunately it wasn’t climbing season yet so I settled for Mount Takao instead. Maybe on my next trip 😉 ?

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      1. Since I’m still in college, I’m thinking about taking a year to study abroad in Japan (probably Osaka), so hopefully I’ll be back next year or in two years time. I might even manage to escape to Kyoto for a couple of weeks this summer too, definitely looking forward to it!

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      2. Kyoto is beautiful! I stayed there as well as Hiroshima and Onomichi in 2005. You’ll need to brush up on your Nihongo first though! There aren’t as many English speakers when you get far from Tokyo.

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